Articles and Essays

McFaul in the Quad

The following are selected academic articles and policy essays.

July 30, 2016

How to Counter the Putin Playbook

The New York Times

A quarter-century ago, at the end of the Cold War, it seemed that only democracies promoted their values abroad. Today, autocracies have entered the arena again, exporting their ideas and methods — even to the United States. Everywhere, autocrats are pushing back against democrats, and President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia is the de facto leader of this global movement.

July 30, 2015

Who Lost Russia (This Time)? Vladimir Putin

The Washington Quarterly

With Kathryn Stoner. In the late 1990s, as Russia’s economy descended into a death spiral— eventually culminating in the August 1998 crash of the ruble and the government’s default on its international loan commitments—a series of books and articles appeared asking, “Who Lost Russia?”1 Fingers pointed in many directions, but almost all to the West: the International Monetary Fund (IMF), NATO, President Bill Clinton, and then later in the next decade, President George W. Bush. Arguments came in many varieties, but divided into two polar opposite views: the West did too much, and the West did

July 23, 2014

Creating a Civil Society Marketplace (CSM): Knowledge, Training, Resources

Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies, Stanford University

Civil society is under siege in many countries throughout the world. In recent years, autocratic regimes, as well as governments in transition, have implemented a variety of laws and regulations designed to decrease the scope of activities for civil society organizations at home (...) Repressive governments have made all sources of foreign funding suspicious, but American government sources of funding have received the most negative attention. This worldwide assault on civil society started over a decade ago, but has accelerated in the last few years.

March 23, 2014

Confronting Putin’s Russia

The New York Times

The decision by President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia to annex Crimea ended the post-Cold War era in Europe. Since the late Gorbachev-Reagan years, the era was defined by zigzags of cooperation and disputes between Russia and the West, but always with an underlying sense that Russia was gradually joining the international order. No more.

March 1, 2009

Engaging Autocrats (and Democrats) to Facilitate Democratic Transitions

Democracy in U.S. Security Strategy

After fighting two wars in the name of democratic regime change during the Bush administration, most Americans associate democracy promotion with coercive action. Because autocratic regimes govern by immoral means, so the logic goes, they must be coerced into changing or forced out of power. Many human rights organizations and democracy promotion organizations also advocate punishment as a response to abusive or undemocratic behavior by autocratic regimes. These organizations usually refrain from recommending military force against bad regimes, but they almost always call for economic

December 1, 2007

Should Democracy Be Promoted or Demoted?

The Washington Quarterly

The tragic result of the gap between declared objectives and strategies on democracy promotion is that many Americans are starting to view this goal as no longer desirable or attainable. A more effective strategy for promoting democracy and human rights is both needed and available.

December 1, 2007

The Myth of the Authoritarian Model | How Putin's Crackdown Holds Russia Back

Foreign Affairs

With Kathryn Stoner | The conventional explanation for Vladimir Putin’s popularity is straight-forward.In the 1990s, under post-Soviet Russia’s first president, Boris Yeltsin, the state did not govern, the economy shrank, and the population suffered. Since 2000, under Putin, order has returned, the economy has flourished, and the average Russian is living better than ever before. As political freedom has decreased, economic growth has increased. Putin may have rolled back democratic gains, the story goes, but these were necessary sacrifices on the altar of stability and growth.

September 28, 2007

Ukraine Imports Democracy: External Influences on the Orange Revolution

International Security

Vol. 32, No. 2 (Fall 2007)

Can the West promote democracy? An examination of one critical case, the 2004 Orange Revolution in Ukraine, offers a unique method for generating answers to this important theoretical and policy question. Tracing the causal impact of external influences first requires a theory of democratization composed exclusively of domestic factors, specifically the changing distribution of power between the autocratic regime and democratic challengers. 

April 1, 2007

Are New Democracies War-Prone?

Journal of Democracy

A review of Electing to Fight: Why Emerging Democracies Go to War by Edward D. Mansfield and Jack Snyder

March 26, 2007

Constructing Self-Enforcing Federalism in the Early United States and Modern Russia

Publius: A Journal of Federalism

All federal systems face the two fundamental dilemmas of federalism: too strong a center risks overawing the subnational units; and too weak a center risks free-riding that makes the system fall apart. Resolving the two dilemmas is problematic because mitigating one dilemma exacerbates the other. We develop a model of federal institutions that shows the circumstances under which both dilemmas can be solved so that federal institutions are self-enforcing. We apply our approach to modern Russia where we suggest that when the center is too strong, its ability to extract rents increases and the